Can Cycling Help Arthritic Knees?
Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images
Exercise, including cycling, can play an important part in reducing arthritis symptoms. It can help maintain knee joint mobility and strengthen leg muscles. Experts advise using methods of exercise that avoid putting weight on the knee joint, such as stationary cycling. Consult your physician or a physical therapist before proceeding with exercise that might have an impact on arthritic knees.
Whether you suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis following an injury, the most typical symptoms in the knee joint are swelling and stiffness accompanied by pain. The symptoms are typically worse after periods of inactivity, such as on waking. Using a stationary cycle at home or in the gym provides a cardio workout without putting weight on your knee joints. It also means you can ignore the weather.
Physical therapist Matthew Goodmote, writing for "Arthritis Today," and Dr. Seth Leopold, University of Washington professor of orthopedics and sports medicine, both recommend stationary cycling as a good way for people with arthritic knees to keep mobility in their joints. Goodmote also says it poses less danger of accident or injury for arthritis sufferers than cycling outdoors.
Goodmote recommends starting slowly: Five minutes of cycling at a comfortable pace three times daily is sufficient. Once you can cycle for five minutes with no pain, you can increase the time to seven minutes. From then on, build your routine in five-minute increments until you reach a daily total with which you are comfortable.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.